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“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.” 
             —T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets (“Little Gidding”)

The end is where we start from. This last chore
Of Autumn must be done. I have delayed
To lay to rest these brilliant colors for
Too long, till they’ve had time to wilt and fade.
Enamoured of their long-lived orange fire
That flames long past the burning bush’s red,
I’ve left them to transform into a bier
Revealing Fall’s rich revels to be dead.
But as the cold and darkness spread their pall
On earth and air, another season spreads
Its warmth: the Advent wreath’s first candle sheds
A single flame that quivers on the wall.
The orange blooms of Fall have dropped their rays
And passed the flame to Advent’s purple blaze.

—Cynthia Erlandson